ANIMATION: Overview

For me, the best thing about working in animation was that it reminded me of what live action television was like when I first started, almost–ahem–years ago. In those days, I was busy being mystified and grateful because by getting into show business I had actually found people who thought the way I did. Instead of worrying about money, or what other people would think, or what adhered to some arbitrary standard of “right” and “wrong,” the men and women who populated the studios and networks in the early ’70s were daring, educated, and caring individuals who just plain wanted to put on a show. Any show.

It was like being smack dab in the middle of a Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movie. At last my rebellious spirit was justified. I was no longer alone!

Over the years, that attitude changed. MBAs from Harvard replaced show people and admen as heads of all the companies, and with them they brought their deepest moral value: The bottom line. Live action TV became so much of a business that the very terminology changed. No longer were we making shows for people. Instead, we were “supplying product.”

Even now, however, animation retains the old ethos of zest and creativity. Up and down the ladder, everyone involved is on the lookout for material that will expand the horizons of the medium. Ironically, animation is in many ways more of a business than live action. Licensing–primarily to toy companies–has meant that profits are in fact higher on this playing field. But the business side is nicely hidden by the smoke and mirrors of creativity and zeal.

For writers and artists, the hours are longer and the pay is less. Many companies are non-union and have never heard of fringe benefits. But animation writing gives all of us a chance to learn–and teach–and, most importantly of all, stretch our talent and ambition to the limit.

With that in mind, here’s your chance to take a look at three of the best animated series I’ve supervised:

spideylogo.tvwriter.net

Click the logo for Spider-Man Unlimited

sslogo.tvwriter.net

Click the logo for The Silver Surfer

dioboliklogo.tvwriter.net

Click the logo for Diabolik

4 thoughts on “ANIMATION: Overview

  1. Candy says:

    The hours are even worse? *Sigh*

    In the event this comment doesn’t disappear into the ether, could anybody out there tell me just how terrible the hours are? I’ve been working on a presentation of an animated family sitcom in hopes of pitching it to the networks; however, as the mom of two wee little ones, I’d like to be able to see them every once in a while, so perhaps this isn’t the best project to pursue.

    Muchas gracias in advance.

  2. LB says:

    Hi, Candy. Been a long time.

    Can you email me some specifics on what you want to know? I’ll use them as the basis for an article specifically on the subject so others as well as you can get more detailed information.

    Glad to hear that you’re writing!

    LYMI,
    LB

  3. Rumwriter says:

    Is the pay always less?

    I listened to an interview once with a writer/producer of The Simpsons who said starting salary for fresh writers was 250k. I couldn’t believe it, but he reiterated it. But, this is of course The Simpsons, and it’s the biggest show in history, so maybe that’s different.

    But I feel like there are a lot of really popular animated shows, like family guy, and south park, where the writing plays way more key to the humor than the (voice) acting. Not to sound unappreciative of the voice actors.

    • LB says:

      Actually, THE SIMPSONS is a WGA signatory company, which means that its writers are paid the same as primetime, live-action sitcom writers.

      It took a lot of bitching and organizing and pressuring, but Fox gave in and let THE SIMPSONS and a few other shows go that route. I don’t know how many are left. The pay at Cartoon Network and other similar places is less, but remember, “less” doesn’t mean bad. Not by a longshot.

      LYMI,
      LB

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